Monday Musings…26th September 2022…

Welcome to Monday Musings…Monday Musings is where normally I share some things that have thrilled me, made me think or smile or even have a mini-rant but generally it is my happy place and I hope yours…today there is a little about climate change as I think it seems to have taken a backward step over the last few years especially with Covid and waste due to more take out food…September is also the national mushroom month in both the US and the UK…we love mushrooms cooked in many ways and my vegetarian dish on Tuesday will be a delicious mushroom one and my dedicated meat eaters here didn’t even bat an eyelid about the lack of meat…

B Corps…not something I have heard of before I read about it here...I am hoping that it is far more stringent than previous attempts to clean up the industry…I am forever the sceptic…a prime example is “Fair Trade”

circular recycling the world and a green leaf

If you are looking to make your lifestyle more planet friendly there can be an enormous amount of information to trawl through…plus also certifications…while eco-labels offer positive steps none of them goes the whole hog and can hand on heart tell you that a company /business is both ethical and sustainable…this system has a rigid process and has 5 key objectives brands have to meet…governance, workers, community, customers, plus the environment…

Food and drink brands are proving enthusiastic adopters of the scheme, which balances profit with purpose…of course, I have googled it and the criteria does seem stringent and not easy to whizz through an application…I have found a link to UK Certification also…

Becky whose blog is Platform Number 4 is an avid supporter of green living and the environment…in this post, Becky is highlighting frontline communities in need of support. The climate crisis is on full display this week with hurricanes and typhoon-related storms causing mass destruction…Please help, if you can…

https://platformnumber4.com/2022/09/19/climate-movement-monday-in-support-of-puerto-rico-western-alaska-other-frontline-communities-tracy-abell/

After breaking havoc in Puerta Rico…Hurricane Fiona is still on the rampage…

This video shows the extent of the damage  Hurricane Fiona has left in her wake…

So many people with homes gone, no electricity or drinking water…

Thank you for joining me today as always I look forward to your comments x

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 18th -24th September 2022-Monday Musings, Chicken Curry with Bamboo , Health, Morbid Obesity, Aromatic Leaves…Deep Fried Maple Leaves…and Saturday Snippets where “Curve” is my one word prompt.

Hello and welcome to my weekly roundup of posts you may have missed during the week…September is in its final week...the start of high season and sunshine for some although we are still getting some ferocious tropical downpours and the start of shorter nights and colder days for others…

Lots of food months in September like potatoes, rice, mushrooms, Italian Cheese, honey, chicken, and whole grains all foods I like…This is the time to gather up the rest of the harvest and prepare for the winter month for those of you who are in the Southern Hemisphere…

Last Monday saw the funeral service for Queen Elizabeth II… Queen Elizabeth II sadly left this world after 70 years of service and dedication to the Crown and the British people…a sad week for so many worldwide…a Queen who was a mother and grandmother who dedicated her life to serving the Crown and throughout her life, she did so with grace, humility, dignity and a sense of fun…

What can we look forward to in October?…for some there is Halloween but it’s also a month loaded with national and global celebrations. In addition to spooky revelry, October’s schedule includes multiple days on the topic of bullying awareness …it makes me sad that after all the days, weeks and months we are still banging this drum…Bullying is unacceptable in my book and yet it still exists…

It’s National Apple, Chilli and Caramel, pears and Rhubarb month plus cookbook month… those are just a few of my favourites already the recipes are swirling around in my brain…

Let’s have look at last week’s posts…starting with…Monday Musings...

Monday was a historical day and a sad day but a day where we could reflect on a life well lived, a much-loved mother, grandmother and Queen was laid to rest…Long Live the King!

Monday Musings …19th September 2022…

Chicken is such a versatile and healthy meat, quick to cook and a whole chicken can make more than one meal today I shared a much-loved recipe here chicken with bamboo…bamboo is a very versatile vegetable…Bamboo shoots are also very nice to eat…Bamboo shoots (noo maai) are used as the main ingredient in a variety of traditional Thai dishes, they can be cooked, pickled, and eaten raw. Bamboo shoots have a high amount of vitamins A, B1, B2 and C.

CarolCooks2 in my kitchen…Chicken Curry with Bamboo Shoots( noo maai)…

I love writing A-Z’s and this one is no exception it is interesting and informative to look at a country’s cuisine…Today I am taking you on a virtual tour of the cuisine of Estonia…a cuisine that is similar in many ways to the food I grew up with and also a cuisine that is building on its traditional roots and is so good now that some restaurants have started to earn a Michelin star…

CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 23…Estonia…

World wide Obesity is on the rise…the official figures are scary because not does obesity only limit our lifespan and impact our enjoyment of life it also impacts on health services around the world…We cannot halt the train that produces so many processed foods which are in general laden with chemicals, the same with our meat and vegetables we can however take charge of ourselves and choose to get off that train…Sally who writes Smorgasbord Magazine uses herself as an example of what can be achieved… she tells how it impacted her life and would have affected her longevity …she also is very honest as she chronicles her journey…she is a living example of what can be done by us…TO READ THE ORIGINAL POST PLEASE CLICK THE HIGHLIGHTED LINK BELOW…

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters: The Sequel – #Morbid Obesity – Delicious foods you can eat on a healthy #weightloss programme by Sally Cronin

Aromatic leaves can make a great difference to the taste of our food and often we have them in our gardens or can find them if we forage we may pick the fruit and not realise that the leaf also has a place in our culinary world to enrich our dishes…

In this post, I look at maple Leaves, The Duan Salam leaf and the star fruit leaf…all these leaves that until I researched this post I was unaware either of their existence or the fact that they could be used…I have Duan Salam leaves in the post and on their way to me, the star fruit leaves stare me in the face every day and I knew not of their use… the Maple leaf I don’t have a tree near me and even those of you who have didn’t know they could be eaten…it seems it has been a learning curve all around this week…that makes me happy as I love to learn new things…

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Aromatic Leaves…Part 5…

One of my favourite posts to write and research…this week my muse gave me an easy one…”Curve”…I hope you enjoy the music and the chatter x

Saturday Snippets…24th September 2022…Today’s one-word prompt is “Curve”

Thank you for joining me today as always I look forward to your comments I hope you are having a fabulous weekend xx

Saturday Snippets…24th September 2022…Today’s one-word prompt is “Curve”

Good morning and welcome to Saturday Snippets where my muse struts her stuff and gives me a word…a one-word prompt my muse let me off lightly with last week’s prompt that was for me fairly easy however I still have no clues as to where she gets the ideas for my promt from but I like to keep the old grey matter working but hey muse thank you for giving me a break last week however she has certainly come up with a ‘ curve ball” this week…yes… my one-word prompt is “curve”  after a bit of head shaking and cursing I rose to the challenge and thought you are not going to beat me…

I knew that a curve was a continuous and smooth-flowing line without any sharp turns. One way to recognize a curve is that it bends and changes its direction at least once…for me, a curve is more pleasing to the eye than a straight line…Come with me and see just what I have found …

Curveball meaning…let’s start with that shall we although I’m sure most of you know and have fallen foul to a few of those during your lifetime either as a baseball player where a pitch is thrown with a strong downward spin, causing the ball to drop suddenly and veer to the side as it approaches home plate…or when something unexpected, surprising, or disruptive lands at your door…

Now for a tune…

Pasta… Elbows, Gomiti or Chifferi in Italian, are named for their twisted tubular shape that can vary in size and be either smooth or ridged. Pasta Elbows originated from Northern and Central Italy, where they are traditionally used in soups…I favour using my pasta elbows in Mac’n’Cheese or pasta salad…

Curved Wormhole Libary China…

Wow..this is so beautiful I could spend days in this library …

Mother Nature has some beautiful examples of animals and birds that are beautifully curved…like the swan and the Flamingo…

Some more music…

I have been a big fan of the Beach Boys for many years and never tire of listening to them…

From musical instruments to animal horns there are some beautiful/scary examples of nature or man’s inventions…

Curves are all around us from the simple shape of a balloon or a football…to the intricate curves of a tenor horn, the beautiful curves of a fiddlehead fern, decorative bamboo, the fascinating curves of a miniature bonsai tree…The Gherkin in London, the Sidney Opera House…there are so many examples of manmade and natural curves…not forgetting an Umbrella…the waltzer at the fair as it goes up and down and round and round…

Thank you for joining me today for Saturday Snippets “curve” was much easier than I initially
thought I think straight would be harder said very quietly as I don’t my muse to hear…as always
I hope you have a fabulous weekend and I look forward to your comments and seeing you next
week …Falafel some tear and share bread with spicy nduja are on the menu plus another
vegetarian Dish for the lovely Alex…xx

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…Aromatic Leaves…Part 5…

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews, where I will cover a different food or product each week and look at… what they are.  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, and are they safe to eat, store, use, cook, or anything connected to that food? or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three… today I am looking at…Aromatic LeavesPart 5.

Why am I looking at aromatic leaves?… as a foodie I am always searching for new recipes…many recipes especially Asian ones make use of aromatic leaves which are different from the regular much-used soft-leafed herbs like coriander and mint etc…

Many leaves that are native to other countries are now finding their way around the world either dried or frozen… I think that is great as we can widen our cooking repertoire and experience other flavours…some of which we may not like and others which may become a staple in our spice collection…

Foraging is an age-old tradition that is very prevalent here and moreso around the world in recent years as people realise just how beneficial to our health and well-being foraged greens can be…and why waste a natural resource as food shortages hit us harder we may need to rely on foraging more often…

Foraging is also a wonderful way to explore nature, conserve ecosystems, and enrich your diet, but it is vital to know which plants are edible and which plants will send you to the emergency room and always remember to wash them thoroughly… If you are a beginner at foraging like me, it’s best to start foraging under the guidance of an experienced outdoorsman/woman with extensive knowledge of local plant life…I have my DIL and a Thai friend who are both very knowledgeable and if in doubt, let the plant be and raid your garden instead until you have the knowledge to be safe…

Deep Fried Maple Leaves…

Who knew certainly not me!... Wow, you live and learn as they say…

Star Fruit Leaves…one of my neighbours has a huge star fruit tree and the fruit makes a delicious relish…however, I didn’t know you could cook with the leaves until very recently but before I tell you about the leaves I will just share this little relish recipe made with the beautiful star fruit or carambola as some of you may know it as…

Star Fruit Relish:

  • 8 cups of star fruit, thinly sliced and any seeds removed.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves tied in a muslin bag and slightly crushed.
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg( optional) see note below.

Let’s, Pickle!

Wash and thinly slice the star fruit removing any seeds. Cover with the cider vinegar and stand overnight…in the morning drain the vinegar then add sugar, salt and the clove bag. Cook gently until the relish starts to thicken then allow to stand overnight.

In the morning remove the spice bag and reheat the mix after adding the nutmeg if used and bring it to a boil.

If you plan to store the star fruit chutney then omit the nutmeg as it will turn the relish a brown colour although it does add another dimension to the taste.

Put into hot jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Enjoy with some cold meats or bread and butter.

My second learning curve of the day...this post is certainly that…The Star Fruit Leaves ...my grandson’s partner comes from Bali and has been the source of a few of my recipes talking to her about the aromatic leaves they use she told me about this dish and the fact that this tree grows in many Balinese gardens…

Of course, I had to go and pick some leaves from my neighbour’s tree and they are everything she said crunchy with a slightly bitter tang…she also shared a recipe that once I make  I will share with you…it’s called “ Jukut Blimbing” which translates to Star Fruit Leaves in Sweet Sauce…and of course, as tradition dictates its served on a banana leaf…

Indonesian Bay Leaf…until a few weeks ago I only thought that the laurel bay was the only bay leaf and the only one I have used until very recently…how wrong I was…Duan Salam translates as bay leaf…it is however not remotely the same in taste as the laurel bay… a subtly, flavoured leaf of the Cassia family…however the flavour bears no resemblance to the laurel bay leaf which is sometimes suggested as a substitute. If you cannot obtain dried salam leaves then omit them from the recipe or substitute them with the curry leaf…

To release their flavour before adding to a recipe fry 3-4 leaves either in oil or heat them in some coconut milk either of these will release the flavour…you can then add the leaves to your recipe…

N.B...my search was successful…yeah! I have found some duan salam and they are winging their way to me…

Thank you for joining me today as always I look forward to your comments and if you forage for leaves and mushrooms and have some tales of your experiences and finds to tell then I will be happy to share them…xx

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters: The Sequel – #Morbid Obesity – Delicious foods you can eat on a healthy #weightloss programme by Sally Cronin

Especially for you...this week Sally outlines what you can eat to lose weight and stay healthy…

Delicious foods you can eat on a healthy #weightloss programme

Most eating programmes to lose weight will emphasise all the foods that you cannot eat.

This to me is crazy as in fact they are far outweighed by the number of foods that you can eat. This is why we head into a weight loss programme already feeling deprived.

As a rule of thumb when preparing your menu for the week and a shopping list; select anything that has been taken from the ground, picked from a tree, allowed to roam free and graze naturally and comes from a cold sea environment rather than a fish farm.

Anything that is wrapped in plastic or cardboard should be treated with suspicion as should the really cheap options. Also whilst it is convenient to buy your vegetables ready chopped they will have lost up to 50% of their nutritional value in the first week after being chopped and more as the days go by. Think about what an apple looks like after only a few minutes of being exposed to the air. Usually, good quality frozen food is chopped and prepared immediately so you can use that as an alternative.

To read the original post please click the highlighted link below…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/09/22/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-morbid-obesity-delicious-foods-you-can-eat-on-a-healthy-weightloss-programme-by-sally-cronin/

 

CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 23…Estonia…

Welcome to my new A-Z …World Cuisines…where I will be looking at the countries of the world, their food and national dish or their most popular dish around the world…by this I mean some dishes are eaten in many countries as their fame has spread around the world…

Today I am looking at the cuisine of Estonia.

The Eastern European country is bordered by Latvia and Russia and shares maritime borders with Finland and Sweden…Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania had been part of the Russian Empire since the end of the 18th century,..The former Soviet republic became independent in 1991…Estonian local cuisine typically contains pork, potatoes, and garden vegetables although international foods are available the Estonians are rooted in tradition and traditional foods are favoured like jellied meat and marinated eel this to me brings back memories of my childhood as jellied meats(brawn) and vegetables in aspic jelly plus eels a favourite still in the East End of London…

Although many tourists unused to these traditional foods tend to find the textures strange…but pleasant once they overcome their initial reticence…

The black bread known as “lieb” is a staple and a meal wouldn’t be deemed complete if not served with lieb or “kartulid” (potatoes )…

And of course, no meal is complete without cakes and pastries which are also typical in Estonian gastronomy and one of the most sought-after delicacies would be the “kohupiim,” a cottage cheese-like cake. Estonians are also known for their sweet and mouth-watering dairy products…

Estonia’s National dish is Verivorst...Typically a winter meal or Christmas meal, verivorst which literally means “blood sausage” that comprises barley, onions, allspice, marjoram and blood…pigs blood…very similar to what we Brits call black pudding Verivorst is eaten with Mulgikapsad, a type of sauerkraut, and a red berry jam…Here is a link on how to make Verivorst I know my hubby would love this dish…and I could get all the ingredients here as pig’s blood is sold by the bag…its not something I could make or eat…I have a line…sorry Alan x

The Hairy Bikers have done a tour In Estonia going foraging, fishing for sea kale and dancing with grannies who are said to produce the best school dinners in Europe…I was hoping I could find a video of this tour but I couldn’t…as a former communist country, it seems Estonia is doing very well on the world stage…

But I am looking at the cuisine… a cuisine where Scandinavian, German, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian and other influences have played their part. The most typical foods in Estonia have been rye bread, pork, potatoes and dairy products.

It is also good to note that Estonian eating habits have historically been closely linked to the seasons…I like that…from the fish of the freshwater lakes to the vast fields of rye, so many fresh, quality ingredients make their way onto Estonian dinner tables…

Sprats… this tiny fish was a staple when I was growing up and it appears to be a very popular dish here from a spicy sprat starter to many other dishes sprats feature highly in Estonia’s recipes…On a slice of rye bread, a generous amount of cream cheese, mixed with crushed garlic, is spread then a fillet of pickled sprat is placed. Finally, the sandwich is garnished with slices of boiled egg white, green onion, and dill… Called Vürtsikilu Suupiste it is often accompanied by strong liquors, preferably vodka of Estonian origin.

Hearty Pea Soup with ham hock..something my mother used to make a lovely thick with dried peas soup with smoky ham hock…or how about Potato Salad I think every European country has their own version of potato salad…the potato salad here has smoked sausage and apple and the egg is grated…and is very popular as potato salad is wont to be around Europe and the Nordic countries…

Blood Sausage is a dish that is as old as time…variations of which exist in the UK, Europe and Asia…In South Korea, they are called ‘sundae’, in the Philippines – ‘longganisang dugo, and in Finland – ‘mustamakkara’…Estonian blood dumplings can often be found in shops during Christmas fairs, often accompanied by sauerkraut (‘hapukapsas’ in Estonian).

It is often sold sliced, and it is enjoyed as a late afternoon or early evening snack with a drink.

Verikäkkare is prepared by adding rendered lard and fried onion to a bowl of spices, blood, and milk, which can be substituted with water…Next, flour is added until the mixture forms a dough. The dough can be moulded into shapes, and traditionally they are rolled into sausages.

The sausages are then boiled in water until cooked, and then they’re left to cool. Before serving, they are cut into small discs and fried in a pan until they are browned.

The dumplings are served with pickles, sour cream, and cranberry jam. This dish is a true reminder of the resourcefulness of the Estonians and the importance of Estonian food…true nose-to-tail eating is practised still.

This is apparent in dishes like Sült which reminds me of the meat in aspic jelly my grandmother used to make…Beets are a popular vegetable and paired with herrings as they are in many Nordic countries…Roast Pork with Sauerkraut is another traditional dish as is cauliflower cheese and barley porridge…

Traditional food and preparation feature highly in Estonian cuisine and you could be forgiven for thinking that the cuisine hasn’t moved on, however …The Michelin Guide tells a different story;

Estonia is one of those countries that our inspectors have been scrutinising with curiosity for several years. After many months spent crisscrossing the country, from Tallinn to Tartu, from Mäeküla to Kloogaranna, they discovered a teeming culinary scene, full of quality establishments and diverse cuisine. Highlighting talented chefs and professionals who play on both classic Estonian and international repertoires, this first selection of restaurants is a wonderful invitation to discover a fascinating gastronomic destination,” said Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guides.

That discovery surprised and delighted me to think that as their dinner ladies provided the best school dinner in Europe then maybe their chefs were hiding their light under a bushel…Having MICHELIN in Estonia is a great recognition of their restaurant landscape. It shows that the Estonian culinary scene, which is not yet well known in the world, has been enriched by a strong food tradition that takes influence from the best of world cuisine.

That is definitely a cuisine that I would love to explore a little deeper…I hope you have enjoyed this virtual tour of Estonia…as always I look forward to your comments x